Time to Chill Embracing a State of Wonders

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Winter Landscape
Photography by Mark Graf

Photographer Mark Graf lives near a large floodplain of the Clinton River, an expanse of land splashed with streams, creeks and ponds. When temperatures drop, their glacial surfaces present a fleeting realm of frozen wonders Graf loves to uncover and convey through a macro lens.

“My ice abstracts…(are) recognition of not only how interesting and beautiful winter ice can be,” he says (page 19), “but of what else it can be.”

In Michigan, the same can be found of winter itself.

If you’re in sync with BLUE Top 5 columnist and travel author Jim DuFresne (page 83), the season’s not long enough to marvel at all the outdoor ways snowy days can be spent — from shooting down a quarter-mile-long toboggan run 60 miles per hour to casting Nordic tracks at night on an illuminated trail, embarking up the meanest sledding hill in the state and snowshoeing in the dunes.

Those who don’t cower when it’s cold can find countless other fun outdoor opportunities unfolding in December through February of next year in this issue’s Excursions section, too, beginning on page 76.

But it’s what occurred last winter that really takes center stage in our present publication: A showcase of just how interesting winter ice can get on the wings of a polar vortex.

“We shuffled across an ice field spangled with beach sand until we reached the humped and bulging back of ice formations rising so high they cut off our view of the lake,” reflects Jerry Dennis (page 30). “Tucked in them were the caves…domed or keyhole shaped or vaulted like the naves of cathedrals.”

Intrigued by this limited edition of nature’s artistry, seasoned photographer Ken Scott embraced the chill to capture its majesty and moods, niches and nuances throughout long stretches of day and night. What he saw and explored is just as artfully expressed and preserved in “Ice Caves of Leelanau: A Visual Exploration by Ken Scott” (Leelanau Press, 2014) — imagery and insights from which are also shared here in BLUE (page 36).

While avid fans of summer heat may not find this blustery season as enticing, the Great Lakes State is blanketed with an array of indoor ways to embrace winter, as well. Venture to one or more of Michigan’s diverse top museums (page 49) for one-of-a-kind trips back in time and into space, through Motown’s hits and Marvin’s oddities. Check into one of the Mitten’s destination casinos for high-energy entertainment or a luxe fireside escape (page 44). Uncover the art and science behind what it takes to make Santa (page 28), or savor a rich, robust craft brew at the source it’s made, in a new city you’ve never seen (page 94).

But be sure to catch the next sled — spring is right around the bend.

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